Noun 1. gastronome - a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment (especially good food and drink)bon vivant, epicure, epicurean, foodie, gourmetsensualist - a person who enjoys sensuality. Follow me on Twitter: @Aghastronome

Friday, April 1, 2011

Eco-Mumbling: Gettin' Fruity...Fruitful...I Dug Holes in My Yard!

I have not really been all ecological or greenlike out here.  In light of recent and somewhat back-breaking events at Hell's Half Acre, I feel a strange compulsion.  First of all, I really cannot resist a good deal - you start talking about coupons and I may go all Pavlov's dog on ya.  The Houston Garden Center has been regaling me with glossy ads and, you got it, coupons.  I moved in (not really a full half acre) and the back yard was like a football field with a few trash trees and one seriously overgrown bed against the back of the house, it matched the one in the front of the house, perfectly.  I had patches of bamboo in the yard and have determined that stuff is my personal scourge.  I buy a house, there's bamboo and it's "game on" as I work to kill it off.  I have installed lots of beds and a nice garden (this is a double-edged sword, as I have an insane amount of weeding to do).  First, I planted a Thompson Navel Orange and a Sam Houston Freestone Peach.  They "fruited"....if you call 2 dozen oranges and 3 peaches a crop.  That was about 5 years ago.  My apricot promptly croaked, it went in around the time of the peach, no fruit, no leaves and no idee what I did to kill it.  Then, I got a Moro Blood Orange (12" plant off the ebay, it's still wee-ish) a half-dead clearance Satsuma and then a half-dead clearance Meyer Lemon.  They all lived and they are all still somewhat small. 

This year, I apparently went batshit crazy - or had delusions of modest wealth, or something.  I purchased and planted (by my ownself) five, count them, FIVE different fruit trees.  This last winter, YaYa told me that the pears I had received and shared from my brother's tree in Abilene was a Keifer Pear.  I love those pears with all of my crusty, half-rotten, little heart.  They are sweet, crisp and keep for yonks and evers in the ice box.  They make a fabulous pear/cranberry cake.  I got my coupons and headed for the HGC, as they had (and still have) fruit trees for our area, on sale for $19.99 a piece.  They have a nice variety and I promptly lost my last, serviceable, cracked marble.  I not only got that pear I desperately wanted, I also managed to convince myself to buy an Asian Pear, an Ein Shemer Apple, an Excelsor Plum and a Brown Turkey Fig.  Sheebus.  I had to dig five holes, 6" in diameter larger and deeper than a 5 gallon pot.  I go out in the yard every day, when I get home and while my large puppy runs and plays I carefully inspect the trees.  They are thriving, 5' -6' trees, with new leaves and other such growth, daily.  Next year, I hope to have a good mess of fruit to eat, put up and share.

My garden is about half "in" and half in need of turning.  I'll get that done this weekend.  As it stands, I have white cucumbers coming up, okra and volunteer okra from last year on the rise, three Early Girl tomatoes and two wee butternut squash.  The asparagus is harvestable and my blueberries are making this year.  The blueberries are still pretty small, I can't wait for them to be 4' -6' bushes.

I have a couple tips for you in the fruit department.  First, saving the half-dead clearance tree is a noble effort but, you will not see any fruits from your labors for some time.  If you can, you should, buy a tree that is 5 gallon, or larger.  Compost, however you do it, compost.  Weed and weed often, for the love of peat moss, do NOT compost the weeds.  Weeds begat weeds, even in death.  Just saying.  I purchased a compost tumbling unit that has a tea-catcher.  The tea is fabulous fertilizer, just dilute it in a hose-end sprayer, lest you burn up your plants.  Unless you have the space to plant two of each fruit, make sure you have self-pollenating trees.  I have not done enough research to know for sure, but, I have plenty of room for more. 

Perhaps next time, I will regale you with my herb stories.  Perhaps.  I just received new coupons....I need a nectarine, for reals.

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